The Lost Valley Visitor Center opened to the public in August 2010. This 28,450 square foot facility will host a number of environmental education programs, workshops, camps and special events. An exhibit room, drop-in library and research library (available by appointment) is open daily. The facility is also a regional center for the study of natural resources, housing under one roof the District’s Land Preservation and Natural Resources Division, Environmental Education Staff, the Research Field Station, the District’s ecological data bases, resource library and map room, Restoration Internship Program and the People and Nature Certificate Program. In addition, the Illinois Nature Preserves Commission and the McHenry County Conservation Foundation have offices in the building.
Located in the geographic center of the park near the existing trail system, the Lost Valley Visitor Center is perched on the glacial moraine overlooking the Nippersink Creek valley. The visitor center will serve as a central focal point and gateway for a day’s adventure where the natural history of the park and information about the area will be shared with visitors and connect them with the District’s mission.
Glacial Park has long been considered one of the jewels of the county’s open space holdings, characterized by its rolling prairie, wetlands, delta kames, oak savanna and the tranquil presence of Nippersink Creek. Encompassing 3,200 acres, Glacial Park is the District’s most well known conservation area, visited annually by more than 64,000 individuals. It supports nine miles of snowmobile trails, six miles of hiking trails, and four miles of horse trails, contains a five mile segment of the regional Prairie Trail and offers canoeing and fishing in Nippersink Creek. It contains over 400 acres of dedicated nature preserve; harbors 18 state listed endangered and threatened species; and is listed as one of the top five areas to view migratory wetland birds in the region.
Located in Glacial Park
Route 31 & Harts Road, Ringwood
Nov. – March
Daily 9 a.m.– 4 p.m.
April – October
Daily 9 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Ph (815) 678.4532
Fax (815) 678.4795
Closed Oct. 1; reopens Oct. 2 at Noon
Closed Dec. 1-4 for hunting.
Stop by for these ongoing programs:
Lost Valley Nature Detectives
— self-guided explorations
It’s a beautiful day for hiking, bird watching, bug catching, or puddle stomping! Start your adventures at Lost Valley Visitor Center where each month a new topic is featured. Indoor displays and activities will get you ready for an outdoor exploration. Check out the free exploration backpack to borrow binoculars and field guides and grab a scavenger hunt to help you search the wild spaces of Glacial Park.
Lost Valley Visitor Center Building Tours
Learn more about the building’s renovation, why the District decided to apply for LEED certification, how we reduced our environmental impact, and what “green” products we chose to use in the renovations. Tours last approximately one hour. Organized groups are welcome to call (815) 678-4532 to schedule a building tour their group. Minimum 12 people.
This hike app features a self guided interpretive audio tour of a two mile hike through Glacial Park. When a user of the GPS supported app is walking near one of 12 numbered posts long the trail it will automatically start playing a voice recording of the information for that specific point of interest. The user can choose to listen or read the text on the screen, along with 4-5 images correlating to each stop. Visitors will learn about and explore the savanna, prairies, kames, and wetlands of this magnificent site.
Also available, a tour of the Nippersink Creek Canoe Trail which touches upon history, restoration and nature along the water trail. For those less inclined to use their phones while on the water, here is a print version.
Available for $.99 on both IOS and Android, download from iTunes App Store or Google Play
The app also includes several hikes from other open space agencies around the state that you can choose to download as well.